There is a Constitution Committee at Gloucestershire County Council consisting of 4 Tories, 2 Labour, 2 Lib/Dem and a UKIP Councillor (Councillor Colin Guyton). Gloucestershire County Council is a Cabinet-style Council which is a type of local government which has been introduced in the United Kingdom for Local Councils following the introduction of the Local Government Act 2000.
This means that there is a leader and a cabinet, with each member of the cabinet having a separate portfolio such as education, culture, transport etc in a similar manner as the UK government. The Leader and Cabinet are responsible for policies, plans and strategies, and for recommending them to the overall Council, which is of course convened as a whole, at regular council meetings.
As you would expect, opposition parties have members who act in a similar way as the shadow cabinet in governemnt. The Leader of the Opposition, the Opposition Chief Whip and Opposition Deputy Chief Whip are the only Members of the Official Opposition to draw remuneration for their Opposition roles in addition to their salaries as Members of Parliament
At its meeting in June, the Constitution committee recommended to the Full Council that a Special Responsibility Allowance be set at £1500 for each member of the “Shadow Cabinet”. In fact 7 Labour and 7 Lib Dem members to shadow 7 Tory Cabinet members amounting to £21000 per annum or £84,000 over the life of the Council.
In effect they are being paid extra money to do the job that they were elected for i.e. be aware of what the Tories are up to and criticise where appropriate. This is on top of the salary paid to every person who is a County Councillor.
Every Councillor receives a basic allowance of £8,800.. So how come Gloucestershire County Councillors feel that their opposition (and in fact the third party) should get an additional allowance when this doesn’t happen at National Government level???
Needless to say Councillor Colin Guyton of UKIP was a lonely voice voting against the recommendation….